Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei ends below 21,000 for first time in nine months

JIJI

The benchmark Nikkei average closed below 21,000 for the first time in nearly nine months on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Wednesday amid concerns over a slowdown in the global economy.

The 225-issue Nikkei average shed 127.53 points, or 0.60 percent, to 20,987.92, its first finish below 21,000 since March 26. On Tuesday, the index tumbled 391.43 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues was down 6.36 points, or 0.41 percent, at 1,556.15, its lowest finish since May 18, 2017. It dropped 31.69 points on Tuesday.

Investor sentiment was also battered by major mobile phone carrier SoftBank’s weak debut on the TSE’s first section, market sources said.

A fall in European equities and only a slight rebound in U.S. stocks on Tuesday reinforced worries about a possible slump in the global economy, an official of a bank-linked securities firm said.

“Mainstay issues met with position-adjustment selling by foreign investors ahead of the Christmas holidays,” the official said.

The official said that SoftBank’s sluggish performance reflected “the recent poor market sentiment.”

SoftBank’s stock fetched an initial price of ¥1,463, 2.5 percent lower than its initial public offering price, and closed at ¥1,282.

In the broader market, active buying of dips was held in check as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting due later on Wednesday.

“Funds are hard to enter” the market before the Fed meeting is over, said Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,171 to 883 in the TSE’s first section, while 75 issues were unchanged.

Volume grew to 1.739 billion shares from 1.625 billion shares Tuesday.

Oil companies Inpex Corp., JXTG Holdings Inc., Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. fell on lower crude oil prices.

Other major losers included clothing retailer Fast Retailing Co. and semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron.

By contrast, factory automation-related issues, such as Yaskawa Electric Corp., Fanuc Corp. and Keyence Corp., were buoyant on hopes for possible economic stimulus measures in China, brokers said.

Also on the plus side were cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. and automaker Suzuki Motor Corp.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the March contract on the Nikkei average sagged 150 points to end at 20,920.